Integrity and context of 85 respected
Sunday 16 May 2021
The magazine piece about plans for redevelopment in Fleet Street - Reuters former Fleet Street neighbours face wrecking ball - is somewhat one-sided.
There are strong justifications for moving both the Police HQ and the Courts to Fleet Street - and nothing to do with not wanting to go across the river. The City of London Police have grown out of their current headquarters and they need purpose-built new premises, and it makes sense to house them next to Crown courts in an area that is already well populated with both other courts - the Old Bailey and the High Court on the Strand - and with barristers and lawyers - the Inns of Court, and multiple legal offices.
The inner sections of the proposed new development will open up better passages through to Salisbury Square and St Bride’s - so that will be an improvement. The integrity and context of Edwin Lutyens’ 85 Fleet Street has also been respected.
The one solid issue that Simon Jenkins picks up on, and on which I expressed reservations as a member of the City of London’s Planning and Transportation Committee, is the near windowless fronting along Fleet Street. This will be broken up in part with in-stepped arched alcoves and statues but the result will to my mind still be a bit too fortress-like. It was this that led me to abstain at the Committee meeting on 22 April which approved the project by 12 votes to four with two abstentions.
Save Britain’s Heritage is running a campaign to persuade the government to call in the application and subject it to a ministerial-level review. See PETITION: STOP THE DEMOLITION OF 72-81 FLEET STREET (savebritainsheritage.org). ■